The long-awaited 26-foot sculpture of Marilyn Monroe was unveiled on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, amid some controversy about its risqué appearance.
It depicts Monroe as she appeared in an iconic scene in the 1955 movie “The Seven Year Itch,” where her dress goes flying up as she stands over a New York subway grate, leaving her underwear exposed.
But the film scene left much more to the imagination than artist Seward Johnson’s ‘Forever Marilyn’ sculpture. A 26-foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe towering above tourists in the middle of Chicago was unveiled on Friday to much applause.
Bemused shoppers stopped and stared, a boy tried to crawl up her leg and the men from a wedding party could not resist taking a few photos from all angles.
Not least because visitors to the plaza are at once confronted with Monroe’s pert bottom in gleaming white panties and her perfect pins bedecked in white, open-toe kitten heels.
Men have been spotted gawping while their wives get cross and attempt to shield their eyes and lots of people have stopped to take a quick snap of the giantess before she goes public tomorrow.
“Come on, what is it like, 25 to 30 feet tall? It’s outrageous,” Scott Simonson said while posing for a picture. “It’s really cool. I love it.”
Artist Ruth Soil says she’s a teeny bit offended. “Trying to live up to this image killed her,” she told CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez.
He added: “I don’t know what the message is. I would have liked to see a more serious image of a woman instead of with her skirt blowing and everyone looking up her dress.”
The sculpture was built in a studio in New Jersey and brought to Chicago. The stainless steel and aluminium sculpture, which weighs a whopping 34,000 lbs, has raised more than a few eyebrows.
In his Perspective Thursday night, CBS 2’s Walter Jacobson said the sculpture will be a welcome addition to the Mag Mile. “So we did not get the Olympics, but we have Ms. Monroe, keeping us on top of the outdoor world, and just when we need it, a smile on that mile,” he said.
But Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich gave the sculpture a scathing review. She called it “as tawdry as a peep show,” and complained about the men walking by who were seen “shooting photos of her crotch while one stuck out his tongue to mime a lick.”
“The original image (from ‘The Seven Year Itch’) is coy,” Schmich wrote. “Marilyn on the Mag Mile is crude.” But fans and foes alike will have to get used to the sculpture. It will be towering over Michigan Avenue through next spring.
The actual white dress worn by Monroe in the scene from director Billy Wilder’s 1955 film sold for $4.6m at auction last month. [header photo via niXerKG/Flickr; Story via Daily Mail (UK) and CBS Chicago]